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Writing Device Drivers     Oracle Solaris 10 1/13 Information Library
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Part I Designing Device Drivers for the Oracle Solaris Platform

1.  Overview of Oracle Solaris Device Drivers

2.  Oracle Solaris Kernel and Device Tree

3.  Multithreading

4.  Properties

5.  Managing Events and Queueing Tasks

6.  Driver Autoconfiguration

7.  Device Access: Programmed I/O

8.  Interrupt Handlers

9.  Direct Memory Access (DMA)

10.  Mapping Device and Kernel Memory

11.  Device Context Management

12.  Power Management

13.  Hardening Oracle Solaris Drivers

14.  Layered Driver Interface (LDI)

Part II Designing Specific Kinds of Device Drivers

15.  Drivers for Character Devices

16.  Drivers for Block Devices

17.  SCSI Target Drivers

18.  SCSI Host Bus Adapter Drivers

19.  Drivers for Network Devices

20.  USB Drivers

21.  SR-IOV Drivers

Part III Building a Device Driver

22.  Compiling, Loading, Packaging, and Testing Drivers

23.  Debugging, Testing, and Tuning Device Drivers

24.  Recommended Coding Practices

Part IV Appendixes

A.  Hardware Overview

SPARC Processor Issues

SPARC Data Alignment

Member Alignment in SPARC Structures

SPARC Byte Ordering

SPARC Register Windows

SPARC Multiply and Divide Instructions

x86 Processor Issues

x86 Byte Ordering

x86 Architecture Manuals


Store Buffers

System Memory Model

Total Store Ordering (TSO)

Partial Store Ordering (PSO)

Bus Architectures

Device Identification

Supported Interrupt Types

Bus Specifics

PCI Local Bus

PCI Address Domain

PCI Configuration Address Space

PCI Configuration Base Address Registers

PCI Memory Address Space

PCI I/O Address Space

PCI Hardware Configuration Files

PCI Express


SBus Physical Address Space

Physical SBus Addresses

SBus Hardware Configuration Files

Device Issues

Timing-Critical Sections


Internal Sequencing Logic

Interrupt Issues

PROM on SPARC Machines

Open Boot PROM 3

Forth Commands

Walking the PROMs Device Tree

Mapping the Device

Reading and Writing

B.  Summary of Solaris DDI/DKI Services

C.  Making a Device Driver 64-Bit Ready

D.  Console Frame Buffer Drivers

E.  pci.conf File


SPARC Processor Issues

This section describes a number of SPARC processor-specific topics such as data alignment, byte ordering, register windows, and availability of floating-point instructions. For information on x86 processor-specific topics, see x86 Processor Issues.

Note - Drivers should never perform floating-point operations, because these operations are not supported in the kernel.

SPARC Data Alignment

All quantities must be aligned on their natural boundaries, using standard C data types:

Usually, the compiler handles any alignment issues. However, driver writers are more likely to be concerned about alignment because the proper data types must be used to access the devices. Because device registers are commonly accessed through a pointer reference, drivers must ensure that pointers are properly aligned when accessing the device.

Member Alignment in SPARC Structures

Because of the data alignment restrictions imposed by the SPARC processor, C structures also have alignment requirements. Structure alignment requirements are imposed by the most strictly aligned structure component. For example, a structure containing only characters has no alignment restrictions, while a structure containing a long long member must be constructed to guarantee that this member falls on a 64-bit boundary.

SPARC Byte Ordering

The SPARC processor uses big-endian byte ordering. The most significant byte (MSB) of an integer is stored at the lowest address of the integer. The least significant byte is stored at the highest address for words in this processor. For example, byte 63 is the least significant byte for 64-bit processors.

image:Diagram shows how bytes are ordered in big-endian architectures, that is, byte 0 is the most significant byte.

SPARC Register Windows

SPARC processors use register windows. Each register window consists of eight in registers, eight local registers, eight out registers, and eight global registers. Out registers are the in registers for the next window. The number of register windows ranges from 2 to 32, depending on the processor implementation.

Because drivers are normally written in C, the compiler usually hides the fact that register windows are used. However, you might have to use register windows when debugging the driver.

SPARC Multiply and Divide Instructions

The Version 7 SPARC processors do not have multiply or divide instructions. The multiply and divide instructions are emulated in software. Because a driver might run on a Version 7, Version 8, or Version 9 processor, avoid intensive integer multiplication and division. Instead, use bitwise left and right shifts to multiply and divide by powers of two.

The SPARC Architecture Manual, Version 9, contains more specific information on the SPARC CPU. The SPARC Compliance Definition, Version 2.4, contains details of the application binary interface (ABI) for SPARC V9. The manual describes the 32-bit SPARC V8 ABI and the 64-bit SPARC V9 ABI. You can obtain this document from SPARC International at